LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A fiery explosion left 11 firefighters injured as they fought flames engulfing a single-story commercial building in the Toy District of downtown Los Angeles Saturday night, authorities said.

The first flames were reported at 6:26 p.m. at 327 East Boyd St., according to Los Angeles Fire Department Capt. Erik Scott. The explosion and fire are under active investigation by the LAFD's arson and counter-terrorism unit, and the criminal conspiracy section of the Los Angeles Police Department's Major Crimes Division, fire department spokesman Nicholas Prange said.

Shortly after, firefighters arrived and began an offensive battle, an explosion was reported and multiple buildings became involved, leading crews to go into a defensive fight, Scott said.

What You Need To Know

  • Fire inside DTLA commercial building led to explosion

  • 11 firefighters injured

  • Multiple buildings involved in fire

  • Ambulances and fire companies on the scene

"There was a significant explosion that caused a mayday report,'' Scott explained. "This was upgraded to a major emergency category.''

In the fire the 11 firefighters who were injured were brought to LA County USC Medical Center for overnight observation. Three of the firefighters have critical, but not life-threatening injuries. One firefighters has a serious injury. All of the firefighters are expected to fully recover. Three of the firefighters were released from the hospital Sunday morning.

The injured men, who were from Engine No. 9, realized something was wrong when they were inside the building but could not escape in time to avoid the blast. Their fire engine parked outside was charred, and the aerial ladder was damaged, with eyewitnesses saying firefighters on that ladder climbed down with their coats on fire.

"This has been a very difficult situation,'' Scott said, noting that he would provide the community with updates as soon as possible.

Multiple ambulances and fire companies were called to the scene, and a medical treatment area was established just east of the building, which Scott said was Smoke Tokes Warehouse Distributor, calling the business "a supplier for those who make butane honey oil.''

Flames and billowing smoke spread from the first narrow building that caught fire to other neighboring one-story businesses. The fire truck was blackened and some firefighting equipment was damaged, including an aerial ladder.

LAFD Chief Ralph M. Terrazas said the mayday call, which is used only when a firefighter is "down, missing or trapped,'' was "the kind of call I always dread.''

Over 230 firefighters responded, including those involved in treating and transporting injured firefighters.

The fire was knocked out at 8:08 p.m.


City News Service contributed to this report.